Taiwan's Chou advances to semifinals at Badminton Asia

Chou Tien-chen is 1st Taiwanese in 20 years to reach semifinals of men's singles at Badminton Asia Championships

File photo, Chou Tien-chen

File photo, Chou Tien-chen (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Chou Tien-chen (周天成) became the first Taiwanese in the last 20 years to advance to the semifinals of the men's singles at the Badminton Asia Championships after defeating his Japanese competitor on Friday.

In a hard-fought match against Kenta Nishimoto that lasted one hour and 20 minutes, the fifth-seeded Chou quickly picked up the pace of play in the first game and took an 8-1 lead before winning the match.

However, the world's No. 5 player found himself down 14-20 in the second game. Even though Chou had rallied by scoring six consecutive points, saving eight game points and getting two match points, he still conceded the game 24-26.

With the third game tied 13-13, Chou nonetheless managed to win by scoring five consecutive points, defeating Nishimoto for the fifth time since the two started competing against each other.

That made Chou the first Taiwanese in the past two decades to reach the semifinals of the tournament.

His performance matched the record set by Taiwanese Chen Feng (陳鋒), who won the bronze medal of the men's singles at the 1999 Badminton Asia Championships.

Last year, Chou also became the first Taiwanese player to win a silver medal at the badminton men's singles tournament in the Jakarta Palembang Asian Games.

Chou will next face Shi Yuqi (石宇奇) of China, who played better than him in the head-to-head record and defeated the Taiwanese in four of their six previous matches.